St. Olaf College | News

A career devoted to conservation biology

After graduating from St. Olaf College, Kyle Flesness ’09 worked with a wide range of research organizations devoted to wildlife conservation.

He worked with 35 endangered species in six countries around the world, from the Caribbean to Africa. He ended up in Colorado, where he is now an environmental manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) region in Denver.

“It’s extremely rewarding to work in conservation biology,” he says. “I’ve gotten to work with many species, and now I’m working at more of a policy level to protect the species and their habitats across six states in our region, which is about 500,000 square miles.”

Flesness says his day-to-day work focuses on making sure that the 95 species that are threatened and endangered in his six-state region are not negatively impacted by any FEMA-funded action.

“I think St. Olaf did a phenomenal job of giving me the tools I needed to start a career in wildlife biology,” Flesness says. “The lessons I learned about community and communication I think are responsible for getting me where I am today.”